How could you overturn the tide in the 3rd set when your opponent was serving for the match at 5/4?
It was a very tough match. I can’t tell you exactly how I did it. I tried to play every ball. I’m very happy with this victory.
You played aggressively, made passing shots. And what didn’t work?
Every time there is something you can improve. Today I thought that I moved too slow to the net. Yulia used it pretty well. She made passing shots and felt the rhythm of the game. She is so good in this aspect of game.
You are a Top50 player. What makes the difference for players with such high ranking?
You’ve got more experienced after years on the circuit. You get to play in such big tournaments. You know what you need to do, how to prepare for the match. Last year I finished in the Top40, so there are some expectations from myself.
The start of this season was tough. Why?
I drove myself into a corner, expected too much from myself. I didn’t have fun on the court, made bad mistakes. I try now to put all thoughts aside and just to work.
How did you spend your pre-season?
In hindsight I would have done everything differently.
What went wrong?
I won’t talk about the mistakes I made so that my opponents don’t take advantage of them.
What was the reason for both your losses in Fed Cup matches? Was it stressful? How was the atmosphere in the team?
Everything was good, we supported each other. Unfortunately, I’ve lost two matches. I really wanted to win and thought about it too much.
Now you’ve been playing in clothes branded Emporio Armani. Could you, please, tell us more about this partnership?
I’m happy to play under this brand and to be the only woman in this role. It’s a great responsibility. I hope I live up to expectations. I will work to shine on the court.
Did your sister Polina tell you something about her debut?
Yes, she said that she was leading in every set. This is her just 2nd tournament of such high level. Everybody fights and doesn’t give up. She has a lot of work to do to improve.
You will face next the defending champion of St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy Kiki Bertens. What do you expect?
We haven’t played against each other. I will try to enjoy tennis and the crowd. Today I had a lot of support from the crowd, and I was happy. No expectations, just work.
When will we see you and your sister Polina playing doubles?
We applied to play here, but didn’t enter the main draw because of low rankings. We didn’t receive wild card either.
Polina told about special methods of practice sessions. Do you advise something to her?
The Russian Tennis Federation helps her. My father coaches her at CSKA club. She has a lot to improve, but I don’t interfere with her training.
You are a Russian player and we support you, but you have Tatar roots. Do you have a favorite dish from the Tatar cuisine?
I like kystybai – pancake with potatoes. Very tasty. I strongly recommend it.
You can watch live broadcasting of matches here http://tv.formulatx.com/. The broadcasting is available only in Russia.
The tournament WTA St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy 2020 takes place at “SIBUR ARENA” from 10 to 16 February. The tournament is supported by the title sponsor “Gazprom export”.